18 Best & Worst Subaru Forester Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Forester is Subaru’s entry into the highly competitive compact SUV segment.

It is known for being an outdoorsy vehicle for adventurous people and offers lots of practicality, adequate engine power and decent fuel economy.

To learn more about the Forester’s best and worst years, continue reading!

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Subaru Forester Are:

The best Subaru Forester model years are 2022, 2021, 2016, 2013, 2012, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2000. The worst model years of the Forester are 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2010, and 2009. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Subaru Forester?

2022 Subaru Forester

With a refreshed boxy exterior, the 2022 Forester looks to shake things up for the younger generation looking for style without sacrificing performance and practicality. 

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 84 / 100

2022 Subaru Forester, Edmunds review:

“Love the car. Everything I hoped for, large doors, easy in an out. I’m 6’3″ and have lots of headroom in both front and rear seating, go figure! It sits high with lots of glass all the way around. Just a great car, no buyer’s remorse from me.”

2022 Subaru Forester, Kelley Blue Book review:

“Amazing vehicle. Reliable, fun, comfortable. Really good gas mileage for a vehicle this size. Would definitely recommend.”

2021 Subaru Forester

The most significant update to the 2021 Subaru Forester was the adaptive LED headlamps (alongside automatic high beams), which ensured visibility in low-visibility conditions such as rain, snow, fog, and nighttime. 

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2021 Subaru Forester, Edmunds review:

“Very comfortable, great headroom, superb views from all windows. Substantial cargo area in hatch. Large glove compartment. Turn signals are not obnoxious, as most vehicles tend to be. Windshield and rear window wipers are large- sweep very well. Steering radius is fantastic!!!”

2021 Subaru Forester, Kelley Blue Book review:

“We are sold on Subarus, we now have two almost identical ones, and love them both. The great mileage is very important with gas prices so high. We get 30 mpg on trips…”

2016 Subaru Forester

The 2016 Forester, among all other model years, valued practicality over design or style. The model features a roomy and luxurious cabin, all-wheel-drive as standard, and the ability to handle rugged terrain and harsh weather conditions. 

  • Edmunds: 4.1 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2016 Subaru Forester, Kelley Blue Book review:

“Runs extremely well. Comfortable seats. Good cargo space, great gas mileage. Rear back up camera is a lifesaver”

2012 and 2013 Subaru Forester

The 2012 and 2013 Subaru Forester models are top picks in terms of exterior styling, engine power, and reliability. These models come in multiple trims. Whichever you pick, it will pack a punch. 

2012 Subaru Forester:

  • Edmunds: 3.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2013 Subaru Forester:

  • Edmunds: 3.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 77 / 100

2013 Subaru Forester, Edmunds review:

“This is our first Subaru. We sold our 2000 Honda CRV, which we loved, and thought the Forester provided the best value among the competition. Initially our best gas mileage was about 22 during a half-hour commute, but after our first oil change it rose to 24.5 on the commuting run which is more acceptable…”

2012 Subaru Forester, Kelley Blue Book review:

“Love the handling and the space. Seats are super comfy and roomy interior for holding many suitcases and boxes. Economical and in winter love the all wheel drive.”

2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 Subaru Forester

These four model years may show signs of aging in terms of design and mileage, but trust us when we say these are four of the most reliable model years. The numerous positive reviews alone can attest to how good these model years are. 

2005 Subaru Forester:

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0

2006 Subaru Forester:

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0

2007 Subaru Forester:

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0

2008 Subaru Forester:

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2005 Subaru Forester, Edmunds review:

“Purchased used in September 2009..  Hard to believe it’s at 175,000 miles and still runs smooth and responsive…”

2006 Subaru Forester, Kelley Blue Book review:

“… This car drives amazingly well and it’s fun and very comfortable. It has good power and it is just a fun spunky car. When I drive around younger people give me a thumbs up because it looks cool with the hood scoop for the turbo.”

2000 Subaru Forester

The 2000 Subaru Forester is the oldest on this list but is definitely considered one of the greatest. Featuring a 2.5L, 4-cylinder engine, and rated at 165 horsepower, this nimble SUV is great (as long as you can find a decent one in the used market). 

2000 Subaru Forester:

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0

2000 Subaru Forester, Edmunds review:

“I love this vehicle! Fun to drive, pulls 2000 lbs, very reliable, was not too expensive, great in snow. Nearly 180000 on it with no major problems.”

2000 Subaru Forester, Kelley Blue Book review:

“Great little car for everything. It goes in the mountain trails, through snow, heavy rains and anywhere I’ve taken it without issue. It’s peppy, reliable and feel safe driving it. Of course maintenance has always been done on time and the little quirks have been promptly taken care of. Maintenance is key! I hope to get another 100K out of it.”

Consumer Scores For Best Subaru Forester Years

Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Subaru Forester model years from reputable vehicle websites:

Model YearEdmunds’ Consumer RatingKelley Blue Book’s Consumer RatingJD Power’s Consumer Rating
2022 Subaru Forester4.6 / 5.04.5 / 5.084 / 100
2021 Subaru Forester4.3 / 5.04.5 / 5.083 / 100
2016 Subaru Forester4.1 / 5.04.3 / 5.082 / 100
2013 Subaru Forester3.7 / 5.04.2 / 5.077 / 100
2012 Subaru Forester3.6 / 5.04.2 / 5.079 / 100
2008 Subaru Forester4.7 / 5.04.5 / 5.082 / 100
2007 Subaru Forester4.2 / 5.04.5 / 5.0NA
2006 Subaru Forester4.5 / 5.04.5 / 5.0NA
2005 Subaru Forester4.6 / 5.04.5 / 5.0NA
2000 Subaru Forester4.2 / 5.04.5 / 5.0NA

Related: 11 Subaru Forester Facts And Statistics You Should Know

What Are The Worst Years For The Subaru Forester?

The Subaru Forester has also been on the receiving end of several complaints.

The models listed below are the versions of the vehicle that you may want to steer clear of.

2020 Subaru Forester

The biggest defect experienced by 2020 Forester owners is the sensitivity of windshields. A lot of complaints surfaced online regarding cracks, scrapes, and scratches popping out for no apparent reason earlier on in the vehicle’s lifespan. 

The 2020 Forester had a total of 23 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 452 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common Problems:

  • Windshield cracks easily
  • TPMS warning light on
  • Battery drains within a few days

2019 Subaru Forester

Much like the younger 2020 model year, the 2019 Forester also had numerous issues regarding windshield cracking. Some owners reported cracks appearing at as early as 6,000 miles for this model year. 

The 2019 Forester had a total of 74 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 705 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common Problems:

  • Windshield chips easily
  • Battery always dying 
  • Steering is way too sensitive 

2018 Subaru Forester

The 2018 Forester shares a lot of problems with the other model years on this list, but there were also a couple of issues related to the air conditioning not working and the battery draining too easily (which has left more than a few people stranded).

The 2018 Forester had a total of 50 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 435 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common Problems:

  • Cracked windshield
  • Erratic steering at high speeds
  • Back-up camera visibility poor

2017 Subaru Forester

The 2017 Forester was the most problematic from a safety standpoint because of the numerous safety recalls initiated due to faulty airbag sensors.

Some owners reported that the airbag warning light was illuminated for no apparent reason while others reported that the sensor failed altogether.

The 2017 Forester had a total of 105 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 550 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common Problems:

  • Shuddering and jerking
  • Airbag light on
  • Navigation system not working properly

2015 Subaru Forester

The 2015 had numerous engine and transmission problems. One scary report specified that even when he was stepping on the brake, the revs of the engine kept going higher and higher, leading to uncontrollable vehicle movement. 

The 2015 Forester had a total of 169 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 704 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common Problems:

  • Unintended acceleration
  • Suspension spring broke
  • Blown engine 

2014 Subaru Forester

The 2014 Forester was very controversial due to numerous reports of the suspension system failing. The biggest culprit was found in the rear suspension coil, leading to vehicle imbalances or sagging. 

The 2014 Forester had a total of 139 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 484 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common Problems:

  • High oil consumption
  • Broken coil springs
  • Lurching and stuttering

2009 and 2010 Subaru Forester

There were numerous complaints about premature engine failure for both these model years as well as the vehicle accelerating when it shouldn’t.

The 2009 and 2010 Forester models had a total of 83 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 509 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common Problems:

  • Blown head gaskets
  • Engine failure
  • Premature brake wear

Related: How Long Do Subaru Foresters Last? (Solved and Explained)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

There are several Subaru Forester model years, both old and new, that have received numerous complaints through the years. Listed below are complaints and problems listed for each model year: 

Model YearComplaints (CarComplaints.com)Problems (CarProblemZoo.com)
2022 Subaru Forester29
2021 Subaru Forester4108
2020 Subaru Forester23452
2019 Subaru Forester74705
2018 Subaru Forester50435
2017 Subaru Forester105550
2016 Subaru Forester49424
2015 Subaru Forester169704
2014 Subaru Forester139484
2013 Subaru Forester1478
2012 Subaru Forester19128
2011 Subaru Forester51183
2010 Subaru Forester45289
2009 Subaru Forester38220
2008 Subaru Forester461
2007 Subaru Forester1879
2006 Subaru Forester26112
2005 Subaru Forester19101
2004 Subaru Forester14267
2003 Subaru Forester31236
2002 Subaru Forester10109
2001 Subaru Forester23168
2000 Subaru Forester1190
1999 Subaru Forester12156
1998 Subaru Forester1137

What Problems Do Subaru Foresters Have?

Based on the information we have gathered online, here are the most common issues that you may encounter with a Subaru Forester:

  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Engine failure
  • Unintended acceleration

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Subaru Forester?

The Subaru Forester is considered as one of the better compact SUVs in the market.

According to cars.usnews.com, here are the best vehicles of the segment.

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Honda CR-V8.8$26,400 – $36,200City: 27 – 28 /Highway: 32 – 34
Hyundai Tucson8.8$25,800 – $36,800City: 24 – 26 / Highway: 29 – 33
Mazda CX-58.7$25,900 – $38,650City: 22 – 24 /Highway: 27 – 30
Mitsubishi Bronco Sport8.4$28,165 – $34,590City: 21 – 25 /Highway: 26 – 28
Subaru Forester8.3$25,395 – $35,495City: 25 – 26 /Highway: 28 – 33
Mitsubishi Outlander8.2$26,095 – $42,695City: NA /Highway: NA
Nissan Rogue8.2$26,850 – $38,130City: 28 – 30 /Highway: 34 – 37
Toyota RAV48.1$26,525 – $36,465City: 25 – 27 /Highway: 32 – 35
Volkswagen Tiguan8.0$26,490 – $37,320City: 21 – 23 /Highway: 28 – 30
Kia Sportage7.9$25,990 – $36,790City: 23 – 25 /Highway: 28 – 32
Jeep Cherokee7.7$29,995 – $39,345City: 18 – 23 /Highway: 24 – 31
Chevrolet Equinox7.6$26,300 – $33,100City: 25 – 26 /Highway: 30 – 31
GMC Terrain7.5$27,900 – $36,600City: NA /Highway: NA
Jeep Compass7.2$26,785 – $34,210City: NA / Highway: NA
Jeep Wrangler7.2$30,295 – $79,995City: 13 – 22 / Highway: 17 – 29
Mitsubishi BroncoNA$29,300 – $49,475City: 16 – 20 /Highway: 17 – 22
Ford EscapeNA$26,510 – $36,630City: 23 – 28 /Highway: 31 – 34
Mazda CX-50NA$26,800 – $41,550City: 23 – 24 /Highway: 29 – 30
Mitsubishi Eclipse CrossNA$25,795 – $29,295City: NA /Highway: NA

Source: cars.usnews.com

Related: 11 Most Common Subaru Forester Problems (Explained)

References

https://www.caranddriver.com/subaru/forester

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/subaru/forester

https://www.carcomplaints.com/Subaru/Forester/

https://www.carproblemzoo.com/subaru/forester/

https://www.edmunds.com/subaru/forester/

https://www.kbb.com/subaru/forester/

https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2022/subaru/forester